With spring training workouts officially underway, players will begin to implement changes they’ve made to their approach during the offseason. Among those making adjustments is Angels starting pitcher Andrew Heaney.
Entering his eighth MLB season, Heaney is looking to take the next steps in becoming an elite pitcher in the league.
The left-hander posted a 3.49 ERA and 1.202 WHIP in 18 starts during his first season in Anaheim in 2015.
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Since then, Heaney has pitched to a 4.61 ERA and a 1.257 WHIP from 2016-2020. A lot of the struggles are attributed to injuries. Heaney received Tommy John surgery in 2016 and was placed on the Injured List multiple times in 2019 with elbow and shoulder inflammation.
The attention to detail in his offseason preparations are among the adjustments Angels pitcher Andrew Heaney is making for the upcoming season.
Heaney put together a full season last summer, where he posted a 4.46 ERA and 1.230 WHIP in 12 starts. The numbers aren’t elite by any means, but Heaney staying healthy for a full season is an excellent sign for the Angels.
The next step for the 29-year old is to make the necessary adjustments to sustain success.
“There’s definitely some times where I probably get a little bit stubborn,” Heaney said. “When you’ve been in the same league and faced a lot of guys for however many years or however many innings I’ve faced guys, there is not an element of surprise as much anymore. I think that probably some evolution needs to happen with how I approach hitters and the way that I might use my stuff.”
Part of his offseason routine included purchasing a Rapsodo device, a type of high-tech pitch-tracking system. The data is used to analyze things like spin rate and pitch break. This type of attention to small details could make a large difference in Heaney’s performances on the mound.
Manager Joe Maddon explained he believes Heaney has all of the necessary tools, and now it’s a matter of executing his pitch sequences and game-plan. I agree with the Halos skipper on this one.
It’s not uncommon for pitchers to find consistency later in their careers. Jake Arrieta was in his age-28 season before becoming one of the most dominant pitchers in the league. Heaney’s teammate Dylan Bundy was 27-years old when he pitched to success last summer. I think the same can be expected of the 29-year old Heaney this season.
Something else to keep in mind is the contract the lefty will be playing for as a free agent in 2022. The Angels and Heaney agreed to a $6.75 million salary in his final year of arbitration. The potential long-term payday will be another chip on Heaney’s shoulder this season.
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The Angels will rely heavily on Heaney and the other starters to contend this season.